We watched the first 36 laps from the Marina grandstand and the Marsa suites but decided to head back to the ‘Rich List’ party when we saw that Valterri Bottas regained the lead from Lewis Hamilton after their one and only pit stop. Lewis Hamilton had shadowed his teammate for the first part of the race, and with the combination of  this generation of F1 car and this particular race F1 race track, overtaking an identical car, or one with similar performance is nigh-on impossible. So barring any reliability issues or mishaps for Bottas, the race had been decided. This would be the first time I was physically at a race track but consciously decided not to watch the closing stages of a race! I am not a fan of this generation of Formula 1 for all sorts of reasons. I preferred to party instead.

And what a party it turned out to be! Wow! I see why the Abu Dhabi F1 round is dubbed ‘Monaco in the desert’. The same glitz and glamour, the same ‘money no object’ atmosphere and the same hard-partying spirit. There were stars and starlets aplenty, captains of industry as well as sports and show business personalities and it was very clear that a significant proportion of the party-goers had not seen a single lap of the race. If you are looking to make new valuable contacts, this was the place to be, the ultimate networking party. Have I mentioned the female guests? Never have I seen a more perfect collection of women in one place. I kid you not. I was actually playing ‘spot the imperfections’. So perfect were they. Maybe the desert air and the expensive drinks had finally addled my senses.

It all added up to one most memorable trip. The driving, the supercars (the trip would have been worth it for the supercars alone), the F1 party atmosphere, the luxury, the valuable contacts made plus 20 screaming F1 cars in the desert….what more can a guy ask for?

Till the next time.